Three shows in three weeks made this introvert exhausted. It was fun though. Here is a short clip from one of them. A group of us did a family friendly show at the Bin and had a decent turn out. Hope we can do that one again. Boy was it fun. The sound is a little wonky, sorry about that.
I’ve been writing and rewriting, wanting to sum up 2015 for you guys, and for myself to no avail.
Word picture: Me, butt in chair, staring at a computer screen and eating potato chips, for hours. That and drinking massive amounts of coffee. Then going outside in our forever summer to smoke. I know, smoking is bad, but it relaxes me.
Then I saw this cartoon on a friend’s Facebook wall and I’m thinking YES, this is it. THIS is 2015 in a nutshell. That which did not kill me has made me weirder. And maybe a little harder to relate to. Or not, I’m not sure really.
Oh no worries, 2015 did not make me neurotic. I’ve been that way for years. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you.
I’m the daughter of a prom queen. The rules were simple, Mom was always the prettiest woman in the room. If I gained five pounds, she threw up and I pay for my own therapy.
I can live with neurotic, trust me.
Part of me believes that I have this semi-empty-nest-grown-kids thing down cold, but when the guys (husband included) all went to see a movie over Thanksgiving weekend and didn’t invite me, that got me right in the feels. We made up for at Christmas by going to see Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Wonderful movie. I loved it. I also loved spending time together as a family. So even though I’ve proven since 2012 that there is life after kids, the bottom line is, they are still my favorite people to spend time with when they are home.
Now, where was I?
Oh yes 2015.
This is the year of Catch Me If You Can. I’ve traveled everywhere it seems. Sometimes for fun and sometimes not. We lost my brother-in-law to cancer this year and my mother died from COPD and Depression. She was miserable in the end. That doesn’t necessarily make her passing easier though. She was my mom. Our relationship was complicated by a lot of things including the lack of relationship she had with her mother but we made the best of it and had our moments. I miss her. A lot.
We saw Garth Brooks in concert (It was AWESOME!). I went to San Francisco for the first time ever to see my best friend from childhood. I performed at the Syracuse Funny Bone and was given the nickname “Hippie Chick.” Went to New Orleans (Another First) I spend five months in Upstate New York taking care of Mom before she passed away. Went on a Muse Cruise with my girlfriends and visited Haiti, Jamaica and other islands. Every place I visited, I found someone playing banjo which is pretty cool to me. I spent a week in St Petersburg Florida with friends performing at Coconuts. I did a show at the Tulsa Loony Bin with other friends. Celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. Turned 50 (E-Ghads) and didn’t die. Recently discovered my Dad is in the early stages of dementia and will soon need more care than I can provide. (I’m not even going to discuss the bed bugs in my NY apartment or my airplane catching on fire and the emergency landing)
Simply put, I survived the roller coaster that is this crazy mixed up life. And if that makes me weirder, so be it. If nothing else, it gives me great material.
And that is 2015 in a nutshell. I learned this year that I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit, that we all need community and I have wonderful friends, that I’m a halfway decent banjo player and I am going to go back taking lessons after the first of the year, that life after kids comes with twinges, that a name (or lack there of) on a birth certificate doesn’t mean anything really, that alcohol and grief don’t mix well, and that I am indeed funny.
May you look back on 2015 with peace and gladness and may 2016 be all you ever dreamed of. Happy New Year my friends.
And don’t forget to breathe darlin’
I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.
What are you thankful for today?
I do try to be honest with you guys. As much as I’d like to say I have I have it all together, I don’t always. Yesterday was such a day. Yesterday, I wanted to yell and scream and throw things. I didn’t. But I wanted to.
And yet I know, His mercies are new each morning. Praying for a better today.
Have you ever had one of those days when you wished “good aim” was a fruit of the spirit?
It does not matter how carefully we plan and dream, life is full of left turns and surprises.
I had my summer all planned out.
A book to write.
Classes to finish.
Blogs to write.
Parties to go to.
Gigs that made me thrilled with excitement.
And then life happened and I had to choose.
Six weeks ago I received a call that a family member was in the hospital and they were never coming home.
I caught the next flight out and canceled everything on my calendar to be with them.
I’d do it again in a heart beat.
Now the good news is, they ARE coming home very soon. And for that I’m thrilled.
The past six weeks were full of twists and turns and white knuckle dives as we watched this family member come to the brink of death and back again.
They are a fighter.
So if you’ve wondered where I’ve been. I’ve been at the bedside of someone near and dear to me.
It was the right choice.
I hope you understand.
“To become a chess grand-master also seems to take about ten years. (Only the legendary Bobby Fischer got to that elite level in less than that amount of time: it took him nine years.) And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” Malcolm Gladwell
I’ve been practicing banjo for roughly 1,000 hours, give or take, according to my practice log anyway. According to Malcom Gladwell, I only 9,000 more hours to go before mastering this.
Granted that does not count the 5 minutes here and there when I do a grab and go throughout the day or evening for that matter.
Mathematically speaking, I’m behind on the ten year thing and you know what, I’m okay with that. I’m getting better, I’m having fun and that’s all that matters. I did temporarily allow the fact that I travel too much to commit to lessons to send me into a bit of a funk, and I got over it. I had to if I wanted to play well. And I do want to play well.
I practice during the day when no one is home, or late at night when I can’t sleep. It all counts.
Lack of live lessons is no longer an excuse in today’s world. We have Youtube! Can’t join in on a live jam, find videos you like and play along. I’m practicing back up right now and videos are perfect for that. I choose songs I already know the chord structure to, grab my banjo, fire up my computer and play along. It’s really that simple and the upside, if I screw up and have to start over again — nobody knows. I might be developing a bad habit with that (can’t start over in live jams, you just keep playing), and for now that is okay. The other upside to this approach is I can play a small section over and over again until I’m happy with it.
I even found a way to get around the travel excuse, I bought a second hand banjo and shipped it ahead. I’ll take it out at night sometimes and sit on the back porch and quietly practice my chords formations and rolls.
Where there is a will, there is a way.